Rob GanleySee other News articles filed in ‘Caravans’ written by Rob Ganley
The Sterling brand is part of the Swift Group and it features three ranges that match those of sister-brand Swift in terms of construction, specification and price. However, they are differentiated by colours and finishes, especially in the Eccles Sport range.
The Eccles Sport graphite decals compliment graphite A-frame cover, front door, wheelarches and skirts. Highlights are in red, in stark contrast to the blue interior accent colour.
Inside the caravans, the furniture, finished in white and hessian with chrome details and plain tweed-look fabric, is bang up to date with contemporary domestic interiors that are fast growing in popularity. Flooring is a dark French oak effect which looks good with carpets removed. And, for cosiness in the seating area, there’s even a long pile rug.
The Sterling Eccles Sport range has been trimmed to six layouts for the 2014 season, including a new ‘640’ six-berth twin-axle model. It's well positioned to compete with the likes of Bailey's Pegasus GT65 and the Elddis Avanté.
Swift Group has also announced a significant change in construction with the acronym ‘SMART’ for all 2014 models. Body panels will have PURe (a polyurethane material) framing in place of timber. This is a closed cell material which is impervious to water, accepts screw fixings and resists compression loads. The material has been used for several years by some German manufacturers and Swift has carried out its own extensive testing to prove the new construction.
An added bonus is a claimed weight saving of between 10kg and 14kg, depending on model size. In Swift’s words, SMART stands for ‘Strong timber-less body frame with Modern desirable looks and a leading Aerodynamic shape that is Resilient to moisture, all wrapped up in a caravan that has undergone the most comprehensive Testing’.
Right across the range, all Sterlings get a package of improvements for 2014. The entrance door high-security lock uses the same key as other exterior doors, plus the Truma Combi dual fuel heating is programmable and is upgraded to a minimum of 4kw (6kw in larger models), there is a new ‘EcoCamel’ showerhead that mixes air to give a good spray pattern and to save water, while the carpets are split into more sections for greater flexibility.
Also, the tyres are now the ‘DMACK EcoXtra’ brand which has an energy-saving tread pattern and the standard fit 20-watt solar panel is uprated to 40 watts. Tracker and ATC trailer control, both high spec items for this price range, are retained for 2014.
Finally, you need to know that from the 2014 season, all Swift Group dealers will be able to sell both brands, which allowed the group to be more adventurous with Sterling design and to move it apart from the Swift brand.
The 2014 Sterling Eccles Sport range
Eccles Sport 442
A two-berth model with a stylish end washroom and a separate shower. Its 4.4m internal length is shorter than most, affecting the central kitchen and dresser unit. Seats convert to a decent sized double bed or two singles, one 1.9m long. MTPLM is 1235kg.
Eccles Sport 514
A classic fixed bed layout with a rear corner washroom that, at 5.23m internal and 1380kg MTPLM, is smaller and lighter than most. The front double is only about 1.1m wide with the drawers in place, but it is a good luxury two-berth.
Eccles Sport 554
An open plan four-berth with an end washroom and separate shower. It has one fixed bed and a front dinette that converts to a double. Internal length is 5.60m and MTPLM is 1430kg.
Eccles Sport 584
A four-berth with a transverse island double bed and an end washroom with separate shower. The wardrobe is next to the entrance door. Front seats convert to a double bed. Internal length is 5.83m and MTPLM 1464kg.
Eccles Sport 586
A single-axle family caravan that will sleep up to six. A large centre washroom with separate shower dominates the central area but the rear room, with two fixed bunks, is ideal for up to four children. Internal length is 5.83m and MTPLM 1557kg.
Eccles Sport 640
A new twin-axle six-berth. It is a classic double-ended layout with centre kitchen and washroom with separate shower. The front lounge converts into a double bed or two singles, while the rear room has two long seats that convert to singles, each with a fold-up bunk over. Internal length is 6.27m and MTPLM is TBC.